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Congressman Ryan Costello

Representing the 6th District of Pennsylvania

Rep. Costello Participates in Press Call to Discuss Importance of his Bipartisan Domestic Violence Legislation

November 9, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) yesterday joined with Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Captain Mark Kelly, co-founder of Giffords, Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and Katie Ray-Jones, President of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, to discuss the Domestic Violence Records Reporting Improvement Act. The legislation would incentivize states to report domestic violence records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and make grants more available to states to help them carry out this essential reporting.

This bipartisan legislation was recently introduced by Reps. Costello and Rice, who both joined the press call to raise awareness on the issue of gaps in records reporting. During the call, participants spoke in support of the bill.

“The system works when you have the records and a system is only as good as the records that you have. This legislation aims to essentially compel states to get their records in line,” Rep. Costello said during the call. “There are states that have not yet created protocols to distinguish between different types of misdemeanors and so if you have a state that does not recognize in their data that a particular misdemeanor is a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, that would fall through the cracks.”

“This is a commonsense piece of legislation that really should not be objected to by anyone on either side of the aisle. It will allow people with relevant information about domestic abuse history of individuals, for that information to be put into a database that can prevent them from getting a gun,” Rep. Rice said during the call. “It’s really as simple as that.”

“We need more leaders like the two joining us on this call today, Congressman Costello and Congresswoman Rice who together introduced a bipartisan bill last week to address the lack of domestic violence records that get added to our background check system,” Captain Mark Kelly said during the call. “You know, many states also don’t send relevant records into the system or leave them incomplete, and that’s unacceptable too. And these kinds of records problems allow domestic abusers to pass background checks and obtain guns over 6,000 times, between 2006 and 2015. These are people that should not be able to get a gun, and they get it anyway … And passing legislation that incentivizes states to upload complete domestic violence records into the background check system is critical to strengthening the system and preventing future tragedies.”

“It’s great to have our Representatives Costello and Rice on the phone. It’s a bipartisan bill that they’ve introduced and that bill would not only incentivize states to upload records into the NICS system, it would require them to use existing grant funding that they’re received and then it would also make it easier for the 21 states that haven’t yet received grant funding through the NICS Improvement Act to get that funding so that they can use it to upload those records into the NICS system,” Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said during the call. “So, it’s really a positively incentivized way to get states moving to get those records into the system.

The Boston Globe, in an editorial yesterday, also praised the bill, saying “Congress should muster the courage to pass it.”